Jan 10, 2012 at 07:13 PM
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Sierra Club Spends $35K To Sponsor College Basketball For Clean Energy

Sierra Club, the nation’s largest grassroots environmental organization, may be an unlikely sponsor for college basketball, but today the organization announced it will be sponsoring major conference games at Indiana University on January 12 and the University of Kentucky January 17. The Sierra Club Clean Energy Match-Ups are meant to connect sports to the idea that dirty and dangerous on campus coal plants need to be replaced by clean and affordable solutions for the health of the players and the students.

“Aging coal plants on-campus release dangerous pollutants such as mercury, arsenic, lead and sulfur dioxide into the air and water. Instead of polluting their own campuses, and endangering the health of their students, schools like Indiana and Kentucky should be the nation’s leaders – investing in innovative clean energy technologies for the 21st century,” said Quentin James, National Director of the Sierra Student Coalition, the Sierra Club’s youth-led Chapter.

“With the Sierra Club Clean Energy Match-Ups we’re showing our support for these top teams while urging the universities to be their best by protecting the health of students and local communities with clean energy solutions instead of polluting coal.”

Since the Sierra Club launched the Campuses Beyond Coal campaign 19 schools have committed to stop burning coal on campus. Indiana and Kentucky are not on that list. Game sponsorship is a new move for the Sierra Club and officials hope it will raise the profile for the organization’s mission to move college campuses, and the nation, beyond coal.

“On more than 40 campuses around the country over 40,000 students have joined the campaign to make sure their school makes the switch to clean energy,” said Mary Anne Hitt, Director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign. “College students have been at the forefront of every major social movement in recent history and the drive to move our nation beyond coal towards safe, renewable solutions is no different. These student leaders show that young people want a cleaner, safer and healthier future for our nation.”

The Clean Energy Match-Ups, Indiana vs. Minnesota and Kentucky vs. Arkansas, cost the organization $17,250 and $17,500 respectively, according to the Courier-Journal.

The games will feature signs, giveaways and announcements from the Sierra Club in support of the teams and the universities. They’ll encourage students to send text messages to university administrators, take slam dunk photo petitions and combine their fanaticism for the team with their demands for clean air and a healthier campus.

“We hope to get more Hoosier basketball fans involved in making Indiana a leader off the court by retiring the coal plant on campus and replacing it with clean energy solutions. Moving off coal will mean cleaner air and a healthier campus that Hoosier fans can be really proud of,” said Megan Anderson a junior at Indiana University who has been co-leading the campaign to move IU beyond coal for the past two years.

Fans will continue to see signs and advertisements saying, “Let’s Score One for Clean Energy” throughout the season on each campus.